Remodels For an Aging Population

It’s a family dynamic affecting the White House and homeowners across the country: seniors moving in with their adult children, and with it families taking on home remodels.

President Barack Obama’s mother-in-law, Marian Robinson, 71, moved into 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. to help with Obama’s young girls, and they’re not alone. More than 3.6 million adults lived with adult children in 2007-up 67 percent from 2000, according to U.S. Census figures. The American Association of Retired People says that the population 65 and older will grow by 89 percent from 2007 to 2030-more than four times as fast as the population as a whole.

The burgeoning senior population will need living accommodations, and many seniors will choose to move in with their children instead of senior living centers. A home remodel can accommodate the changing needs of these families, according to the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI).

“I think this will be increasing all the time,” said Barry Goggin, NARI member and owner of Barry Goggin Construction Corp. in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. “It’s very expensive to retire on Long Island, and if people need care, it’s easier for them to move in with family than it is to a nursing home or care facility.”

Goggin recently won a northeast regional CotY Award for a remodel and 480-square foot addition to a colonial-style home on Long Island. The dwelling was home to a retired couple who wanted their parents to move in for two years before their senior living center was completed. “The challenge was to come up with a plan that would be a temporary living space for the elderly couple and would be a future living space for the retired homeowners,” Goggin explained.

The new addition made room for a bedroom, living area and small kitchen, along with a full bath and closet. Architectural plans called for a cathedral ceiling, plenty of windows and French doors leading to a backyard deck. Goggin and his crew took care to accommodate the special needs of the aging parents. Universal design elements, such as low thresholds, handicapped-accessible sinks and grab bars in the shower, made everyday tasks easier for the senior parents. For convenience, Goggin also added a small washer and dryer into a closet, which could be removed later, and the kitchen could be converted into a wet bar. The flexible plan will allow the retired couple to transform the bedroom into a room for entertaining when their senior parents move to assisted living.

“This was the first ‘convertible’ addition we had ever built on a house, but with the aging population, I don’t think it will be the last,” Goggin added.